Bangladesh one-day international skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza on Friday insisted that they should keep concentrating on winning the series in Sri Lanka instead of worrying much about the next World Cup, which is far away.
The Tigers will leave Dhaka for Sri Lanka today to play a three-match one-day international series, where they are expected face an even contest against the hosts trying to get over their World Cup disappointment.
Bangladesh, who finished eighth in the World Cup — two places behind fellow strugglers Sri Lanka — retained almost the same squad after resting key all-rounder Sakib al Hasan and batsman Liton Das.
Mashrafee termed Sri Lanka a ‘formidable’ side at home, who will take heart from some of their notable performances in the World Cup.
Sri Lanka shocked eventual winners England in the World Cup and finished sixth, though they were benefited from two abandoned matches to finish above Tigers.
‘I think the chances will be equal,’ Mashrafee told reporters in Mirpur at a press-conference.
‘Sri Lanka are doing well and they are a formidable side at home. Their team is playing together for a quite some time now. They have come to a balanced position.
‘They have some good memories in the World Cup as they had beaten England and had a few more good matches,’ he said.
Mashrafee found Bangladesh’s recent competitions against Sri Lanka exciting since the incident in Nidahas Trophy when Bangladesh nearly pulled their team out protesting at poor umpiring.
‘From Nidahas Trophy, there is an extra excitement going between the two sides on the field,’ said Mashrafee.
‘I think it will not be easy for any team and the side, who will play well on the day of the match, will win,’ he said.
Instead toying with the settled group, who will be playing in the series, Mashrafee urged the cricket administrators to put more emphasis on junior players for the next World Cup.
‘It is difficult to directly move for next World Cup. These series are also vital and you need to take time to prepare players for international level. Nothing changes before and after the World Cup that would require to bring new players [for Sri Lanka series],’ he said.
‘If there was anyone he would have been in the World Cup squad. We need to groom players in next two years and give them chances in then in international cricket before they can play in the next World Cup.
‘I think four years is a long time. Apart from me, all the players of recent World Cup side are capable of playing the next World Cup. I think the more important thing than the national side currently is to focus more on U-19 and A team,’ he said.
Mashrafee suggested that Bangladesh’s immediate task is to heal the World Cup wounds in three ODIs, scheduled on July 26, 28 and 31 at the Premadasa International Stadium in Colombo.
‘If you consider the intensity of this series it is much different from the World Cup. But as professional players we have to absorb this,’ he said.
‘We did not have a very good World Cup, so we have an area of concern,’ he said.
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